I did not marry outside of the Japanese race. I instinctively felt the taboo. When I was about 8 years old, one of my aunts married a Caucasian person, and my grandfather did not attend the wedding. I remember the feeling in the air, and it was a rather solemn occasion. I’m not even sure if there was anyone from the groom’s side of the family in attendance. There was an unspoken feeling, that it was not the right thing to do.
When I came of dating age, I realized the importance family played in my life. I married another Sansei because it was the things that we did not have to talk about that created a bond. The unspoken understanding of customs, diet, the rhythm of daily life, were reassuringly familiar. My children are pure Yonsei.
Looking around at the children of my cousins, who were from “mixed-marriages” or my siblings and their grandchildren from interracial marriages, they hardly look Japanese at all. Within 5 generations, they look completely Caucasian. I chuckle when my mother attributes all their good traits as due to their Japanese heritage, such as intelligence, discipline, sensitivity, or even superior dietary preferences.
With the wisdom of age, I think it is a good thing to marry outside of your race. In the case of Japanese Canadians, maybe it is beneficial if both parents do not carry the intergenerational trauma along with them.
Growing up, I used to hear the phrase, “ai-no-ko,” literally “love-child” spoken aloud as a derogatory phrase for a person of mixed race. Now I cringe when I think of it, and I never hear it spoken aloud.
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